Senate passes balanced budget, first capital bill in a decade

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The Illinois Senate took decisive action in the final days of the legislative session to pass both a balanced budget and a $45 billion capital construction plan.

This year’s budget continues Illinois’ path toward stability by meeting the state’s pension obligation for the seventh year in a row while investing in our future by funding programs to benefit middle-class and working families. 

The budget appropriates $375 million in additional funding for K-12 education, $25 million more than required by the evidence-based school funding formula. It also includes $50 million in new funding for early childhood education programs and expands eligibility for the Child Care Assistance Program.

Human service providers that are still struggling to recover from the previous governor’s budget crisis will receive millions in funding, from domestic violence shelters to early intervention programs.

Home health care workers will also get a long-awaited and much-needed raise. Those who care for seniors and individuals with disabilities are set to receive an increase of approximately $3.50 per hour.

The bipartisan capital construction plan will create jobs, modernize Illinois’ infrastructure and make meaningful investments in every community in the state.

The last time Illinois had a major investment in capital projects was in 2009, and roads and bridges are in desperate need of modernization.

Senate Democrats react to the approved budget and capital plan below.

Assistant Majority Leader Iris Y. Martinez (D-Chicago) issued the following statement: “This budget continues the progress we have made since the disastrous budget crisis, but it does much more than that. It honors our commitments to those receiving pensions. It invests in our future by exceeding the minimum requirement for education funding and increasing funding for higher education and grants to help young people attend college. It restores much-needed funding to human service programs like domestic violence shelters and immigrant and refugee services, particularly important during a time of great fear for immigrants. This budget sends a clear message to the people of our state that we are working toward a brighter future for Illinois.”

State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park): “This is a responsible and balanced while funding vital programs. We are continuing to honor our commitment to ending the chaos of past years and moving toward stability for our state.”

State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago, 3rd): “Under this budget, we are investing in our communities by fully funding community mental health centers, youth employment services, addiction treatment and prevention services, and the child care assistance program. I am also encouraged to see more investments in the programs our older population needs to continue to enjoy their communities and age comfortably and with dignity. I fought to ensure that those who care for seniors and individuals with disabilities receive a wage boost. Home health workers play a critical role in caring for our state’s most vulnerable individuals and deserve our support through fair and competitive salaries. Our budget includes much needed additional to funding to increase wages for these workers.”

State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, Chair of the Education Committee (D-Plainfield): “One of the most important investments we can make as a state is in our children. Studies continue to emphasize that the time and money we allocate in educating students at an early age pays dividends in the future. To fight the high property taxes that continue to burden working families across Illinois, the budget commits $50 million to support property tax relief. Funding schools the right way will lead to lower property taxes. As we work to funding our schools at 100 percent adequacy levels, it is essential that homeowners are given relief from high property tax bills.”

State Senator Martin A. Sandoval (D-Chicago) co-chaired a subcommittee that traveled the state this spring to learn about local infrastructure needs and potential revenue sources to pay for them: “We did our due diligence in this process to the tune of eight hearings during which we heard over 23 hours of testimony from more than 140 individuals. I think we ended up with a high-quality product that reflects the most urgent needs in Illinois and fairly distributes funds throughout the state. We’ve been underfunding our transportation system for decades and it’s time to step up and take serious action to make Illinois a leader in this category. Millions of people use our transportation system on a daily basis and we can’t afford to wait any longer to perform maintenance that keeps them safe.”

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) voted today to approve a bipartisan capital improvement budget and legislation to bring a long-awaited casino to Danville: “We’ve been trying to bring a casino to Danville for years, and I’m thrilled that we finally have that chance. This tremendous opportunity to create revenue, jobs and economic growth in Danville is a direct result of the tireless advocacy from a coalition of Vermilion County elected officials who fought for decades to include Danville in gaming expansion in our state.”

Assistant Majority Leader Dave Koehler (D-Peoria): “When you can find bipartisan solutions to keep our state budget balanced and simultaneously pass a long term road funding plan, that truly shows how far we’ve come these past few years. This budget will bring the state certainty and stability, while also modernize our infrastructure network.”